Sealed with a kiss: Accessory Insanity

One of the many quotes I live my life by is “Challenge yourself and treat yourself”. And that’s exactly what I’ve done recently, by booking a mini break to Paris. I have always wanted to go, visiting France on many occasions but never quite making it to the capital, and you know what? I can’t bloody wait!

There are so many amazing places I want to explore and tick off my bucket list and my 2017 manta, amongst many, is to strive to purchase experiences rather than material things.

So with that in mind, to go with my cute cabin bag I choose this adorable ‘sealed with a kiss’ luggage tag*. Aside from plastering stickers all over my suitcase I wanted something that was a bit different to make my grey and black cabin bag stand out! This quirky luggage tag is pretty inexpensive and perfect to add a touch of femininity to everyday accessories.

I was lucky enough to choose this particular item but generally, Accessory Insanity is a website I wouldn’t normally land on (call me old fashioned but I oppose shopping online because it’s a faff to rectify if the item doesn’t meet expectation). However, they have an extensive range of quirky and unique items from luggage tags and business card holders to boho style scarves. I was super impressed with delivery, the luggage tag arriving promptly considering it came from Canada. I highly recommend checking out their website, they have a vast array of girly presents perfect for your best friend or co-worker.

This ‘sealed with a kiss’ luggage tag can be purchased via their website. Features: Vegan faux leather, durable, with a section for your address/business card and has a snap closure. The adjustable strap makes it easy to attach to anything.

What cute accessories are you crushing on?

Love Career Girl

Ps. Items marked with* were given to me for promotional purposes.

Stay Hydrated feat. Audacious Rhino

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So, part of my New Year’s Resolution is to drink a lot more water than I usually do. As I work in an office job I drink copious amounts of caffeine but not enough water and especially whilst at the gym, there are so many benefits to maintaining hydration.

Call me fussy but unless water is cool, better yet ice cold, I find it increasingly difficult to drink the amount of water that we all need. My current Voss glass water bottle does the job just fine for stylishly holding water for when I need it most, such as after an intense boxing session.

I have tested a few water bottles in my time and find so many of them either leak, are too heavy, difficult to hold or just not practical nor aesthetically pleasing.

I was recently lucky enough to have the opportunity to review Audacious Rhino’s smart, sleek range of flasks. I choose this Black Rhino Vacuum Flask* and for the past week have been trailing it to see whether it does what it says on the tin (website). In a word, it does!

As a lover of black it was an obvious choice going well with all of my gym gear, but aside from that aspect there are a whole list of great features. It’s a 380ml vacuum insulated double walled, stainless steel flask, capable of maintaining both extreme hot and cold liquid for hours. Importantly for me, this product has an easy grip nonslip coating, perfect for sweaty classes like hot yoga! The flask is BPA free and has a wide mouth so you can add ice cubes or infuse your water with lemon easily and makes washing it much more hygienic too!

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Explore the full range by heading to their website

What water bottles and flask do you swear by?

Love Career Girl

xo

ps. the product marked * was given to me for promotional purposes yet views are my own.

The Redundancy Rollercoaster

crew-56831.jpgAt 22 years young, the one thing I never anticipated, happened to me. One Friday morning I was made redundant. I think it was amazing to  my colleague and me that I didn’t cry when told! Instead, I calmly left and proceeded to wander aimlessly, like a zombie, in disbelief wondering what the hell I was going to do. It’s funny, it’s the situation you think you’ll never find yourself in. It happens in movies, to other people, but me?!

After allowing myself one day to wallow in sadness and cry my eyes out, I decided to set to and find another job. For someone who has always worked since the age of 14, to be out of work with no income, mounting debt and bills, was pretty scary! One of the first things I did when I arrived back home was hit Google. I stumbled upon an article which really sums up the surreal Rollercoaster emotions of Redundancy. This blog post is my experience of it, how to deal with it, and how to bounce back!

Shock 

Initially, my first response wasn’t actually to cry. Instead, I was completely stunned. Fortunately, it didn’t come as a massive shock, (read my Redundancy Warning Signs – up soon!) due to a multitude of reasons; I had a hunch it would happen.

Anger

I was surprisingly furious with everyone… What did I do to deserve this? Why me? I was devastated. Did I deserve to be treated like this?! In fact, I was so angry that I often lashed out at the ones who love me the most, and were there for me when I was sad. I turned really ugly towards my parents, who have always had my back.

Depression

Right now, I’m alright. I’ve had a lot of time to relax, think and pursue what I want, and I’m happy. At the time, it was a completely different story. People offer kind words like ‘when one door closes, another opens,’ which is lovely. However, in no way does it compensate for how borderline depressing it is. Going back to the drawing board of applying for jobs, interviews and being rejected is no joke! I felt a complete failure, my confidence and outlook on life was rock bottom. I put on a brave face to friends and family, often laughing about the shitty situation. However, deep down, I was upset. I had many sleepless nights and cried an awful lot. Also, because I was in this state, I refused to socialise with friends which, with hindsight, was probably counter-productive. For days on end I would suddenly become so teary, so wobbly and, because I was so ashamed about the situation, I didn’t really speak to a lot of my friends about it. Sounds terribly selfish, but the last thing I wanted to hear was how amazing their jobs were when I no longer had one. It was an incredibly stressful time!

Relief

I mentioned my situation to friends, family and strangers too, and they have all been surprisingly encouraging. Some gave me hope that this could be a blessing in disguise, giving me the freedom to pursue what I really want, with the knowledge and experience that I have gained thus far. Others have offered their own experiences of redundancy, how they dealt with it, and, that sometimes it propels you into something better.

I will never forgot that feeling of hopelessness, being unemployed is a horrible predicament to find yourself in. I am a true believer in trusting the universe. Sometimes it takes extremes like this to re-evaluate your life, focus on what you want, what benefits, excites and challenges you, as that is what you should pursue. A quote from Em Sheldons‘ blog, “Rainy days make flowers” is scrawled on a post it note above my desk, which really helped motivate me. Things do work out for the best, and if it hasn’t yet, there’s still time.

Have you ever lost your job or been made redundant? How did you cope? Can you relate to my experience? Let me know what you thought of this post in the comments below.

Love Career Girl

xoxo

My Gym Gear Feat. Daisy&Co

 

Now that I drive, you can find me hitting the gym 4 times a week, whether it be a relaxing yoga and tai chi session or a high intensity boxing class! And now, more than ever, I seem to live in gym attire, so it’s massively important I have clothes which fit, are functional for sweaty sessions, and, of course, make me look and feel great!

Following on from my ‘dress to impress & dress for success’ post with work-wear, I strongly feel it is paramount to wear whatever makes you feel not only comfortable, but good about yourself too. How can you push yourself and achieve your personal best, if you’re wearing ill-fitting see through leggings and a sports bra that offers no support?!

If you can afford it, I highly recommend getting the best that’s out there, but if not, I highly recommend H&M gym wear. Considering the price, they are surprisingly good, offering sweat-wicking running tops for approx. £14!

I’m always keen to try new gym gear and, recently, was given the opportunity to test out Daisy & Co London‘s latest range. Their new active brand was launched earlier this year I believe. New to the game, they have black sportswear with their logo, and outrageously bright purple options too. They are incredibly high quality and are lovely and soft against the skin.

They arrived in the post and honestly, first impressions were that both items would be too big for me. I’m normally a size xs and these looked huge! However, I was wrong. After trying both on, I realised that the fabric was super soft and high stretch, perfect for sweaty hot yoga or even HIIT classes. The gorgeous detailing on the back of the black sports bra allows for extra movement, which isn’t always apparent in other brands. Often, most sports bras are rigid and thus, limits your movements. I tested these out last week and was really impressed by them!

The purple top isn’t something I would normally opt for, as I tend to go for blacks and greys at the gym, but they go really well with an all black outfit. They would be perfect for summer days, especially as I often do yoga outside when it’s warmer & sunnier!

What I’m wearing: 

Top: Daisy Pansy Print Keyhole Vest

Sports bra: Black Cross back

Leggings: Lululemon Athletic 

Trainers: Asics from Sweaty Betty

 

What brands do you wear to the gym? I hope you enjoyed this post & let me know what you think in the comments!

Love Career Girl

 

xo

 

PS items marked with * were gifted for promotional purposes yet opinions are definitely mine! 

 

 

Jamie Oliver’s Cooking School: Japanese Food

Massive thanks to Lauren, otherwise I wouldn’t have known this amazing place exists!

So last weekend I attended the fabulous Jamie Oliver Cooking School, at their Westfield Shepard bush venue. As a fan of the way Jamie Oliver cooks and from watching his programmes I was really intrigued to find out more about this experience.

Beforehand, the only thing I knew was that we were cooking Japanese food, although there are many other different exciting types of food to cook, from Italian to Mexican food!

On arrival we were greeted by the lovely staff members who offered us prosecco and a chance to relax. We were then instructed to wash our hands and put aprons on. I was really impressed by how everything was thought out. Our Chef for the day was a hilarious guy who really knew his stuff and made use feel right at home. We watched a few demos of how to make the dishes, were able to ask questions, receive guidance; and we were able to try a few of the ingredients, many of which I have never heard off, before using them in our cooking.

All the food and cooking prep was done before we arrived, all laid out and well organised, which made everything a whole lot easier.

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So what did we make? Well I think Jamie Oliver will be super impressed by our fab cooking skills! We managed to rustle up pork stuffed gyoza with a tasty toasted sesame seed sauce, miso soup, ponzu dipping sauce and a lovely, healthy chicken teriyaki stir fry with sticky, fragrant rice and vegetables.

The experience was wonderful, the food, staff and venue were excellent and would definitely recommend. I couldn’t fault it. The experience would make a perfect gift for someone who wants to try something different and for couples or a group of friends!

Find out more by heading to the website – which class would you pick?

Hope you enjoyed reading,

Love Career Girl xo

 

 

 

Dealing With Setbacks – Failed Driving Test

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Guess who was the butt of jokes from both friends & family?! After multiple failed attempts, a hell of a lot of money spent, numerous tears shed and many setbacks, I have finally passed!

Why on earth did it take you so long?! Well, I wanted to focus on A levels and my degree, so postponed learning to drive until I was more settled, with fewer distractions. Summer 2015 I began my search for driving instructors and stumbled upon Darren’s* website. I was blown away by the incredible ratings, many of which were given by people I knew. Although expensive, I decided to go ahead as the reviews were so good. I mean, you get what you pay for, right? I was wrong.

The first Lesson

Of course, like many inexperienced learner drivers, I was awful! Like walking, it is paramount to learn the basics before you can run. My first lesson involved driving on national speed limit roads, with roundabouts etc. I was thrown in at the deep end, which isn’t ideal! That first lesson, many expletives were directed at me. I swerved, stalled, cried and nearly had numerous accidents. It didn’t really get much better after that.

Once, with tears streaming down my cheeks, blurry eyed, borderline hyperventilating, I raced at break neck speed up to a very busy roundabout. I managed to hesitate, then stall spectacularly, right in the middle of traffic, causing many cars to screech to an abrupt halt to miss hitting me. My rather po faced examiner was far from impressed!

Failure isn’t an option

Third time lucky? I wish. After driving so well I was certain I had passed, and overcome with emotion I managed to exceed the speed limit in the last minute and failed, of course…

I improved marginally but was told, repeatedly, just how fabulous a driver I was and how I should pass my test in no time. My poor dad also gave me lessons (which I don’t advise, purely because you can fall into bad habits, not adhering to ‘test’ conditions!) where I picked up conflicting information and methods of doing things, eg. parking! So, after a few months of appalling driving, I was rushed into a driving test which of course I failed MAGNIFICENTLY! The funny thing was, although I knew deep down I wasn’t ready and with parents concerned that I wasn’t up to standard, I didn’t think to cancel it. When you are repeatedly told how great a driver you are, you start to believe it!

Trust Your Gut

I had more driving tests, more failures, more shouting, swearing and conflicting advice from Darren, my driving instructor. Darren was bad tempered, rude, impatient and often made me cry. The perfect example really of how not to teach pupils. My driving lessons always started late. He was incredibly unreliable. On one test day, he turned up 30 mins late, cutting short my practise time beforehand. On another occasion I told him 2 months in advance I had found a test date, which he agreed to & gave me the appropriate lessons. Then, a week before, Darren states he’s double booked. Because of staff shortages and increased demand, I had to postpone my driving test for 3 months. Pissed off? Yeah. By this point I was more than test ready.

Perfect driver & rock bottom self-esteem

6 months later I was a perfectly good driver. However, much to my annoyance, nerves got the better of me, ensuring I made mistakes I would never normally make! Psychologically, I associated that test centre with negative thoughts of failure. I even contemplated hypnotherapy!

New driving instructor, different test centre & positive outlook!

I decided I needed a change pronto. Armed with a friend’s recommendation, I found a new driving instructor, Patrick* who was an absolute breath of fresh air! He retaught me a few things, instantly put me at ease, knew my confidence was rock bottom but quickly and effectively built it back up! I failed again in a different test centre due to nerves. I was in a state; I cried halfway through the test, but my driving was near perfect! A month later, I passed!

I was inspired to write my experience after reading oxjane – who failed 7 times. The thoughts and emotions she expressed, the sadness and the frustration really propelled me to carry on. It motivated me because, believe me… I was very close to giving up! Living where I live, transport links aren’t the best. The lack of freedom meant it was so much harder to organise socialising with friends, going to the gym and being spontaneous!

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences and advice in the comments below.

Love Career Girl!

xoxo

Dull hair to dazzling. Thanks Natural World!

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Dull, lifeless, lack lustre, split ends… my hair is basically anything but what I want it to be! I used to have gorgeous, shiny hair when I was much younger. Yet, as soon as I was a teenager, I discovered straighteners and ever since, my hair deteriorated.

My hair has a natural kink in it, so I straighten my hair daily and when I exercise or just need to power through a load of errands, I’ll tie my hair in a messy bun. Neither of which are particular good for your hair and so I was in serious need of some hair help!

I have tried a multitude of shampoos and am always on the look out for new, interesting hair products and so was over the moon to receive the Argan oil of Morocco Natural World range. These arrived a few weeks ago, beautifully wrapped and with simple but distinctive branding. This post is long over due but I wanted to give an honest opinion of the products! The past week I have been using the whole range (the hair oil I often forget! It’s not something I usually use!) and have been pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the product!

Honestly, considering the reasonable price of approx. £3.49, the products more than exceeded my expectations! I’m ashamed to say I often buy a brand that costs double the price! Would I buy & recommend this product? Yes!

My favourite products would have to be the shampoo/conditioner and the mask – my hair was beautifully shiny from just one wash, I was so amazed! The smell is not overly powerful, infused with Argan oil & essential oils including Rosemary,  Lemongrass, Orange & Ylang, which gently cleanse hair, adding moisture and a whole load of shine!

Packed with vitamin E, anti-oxidants and free from parabens, phosphates, dyes, gluten and 95% natural ingredients, these products really do what they say on the bottles!

Head to their website to explore their extensive range and for help choosing based on your hair dilemma! Have you tried them & what do you think? They are available in Tesco & on beauty and the bunch!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Love, as always, Career Girl

xoxo

PS the range was kindly gifted to me but all opinions are solely my own!